Prince Charles opens up about 'distressing' coronavirus experience

Prince Charles has spoken about his experience after testing positive to the coronavirus in a video message shared online.

Two days after leaving coronavirus isolation, the 71-year-old can be seen sitting at his desk in Birkhall, where he and his wife Camilla have been staying for just over a week, and said their hearts went out to older people struggling at this time.

“Having recently gone through the process of contracting this coronavirus – luckily with relatively mild symptoms – I now find myself on the other side of the illness, but still in no less a state of social distance and general isolation,” Charles initially clarified.

He went on to detail the most ‘distressing’ aspect of contracting the virus, which saw him remain in complete isolation.

“As we are all learning, this is a strange, frustrating and often distressing experience when the presence of family and friends is no longer possible and the normal structures of life are suddenly removed,” he said.

“At such an unprecedented and anxious time in all our lives, my wife and I are thinking particularly of all those who have lost their loved ones in such very difficult and abnormal circumstances, and of those having to endure sickness, isolation and loneliness.”

The Duke of Rothesay, as he is known in Scotland, is a patron of Age UK, and Camilla is a patron for The Silver Line.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend an Age UK Tea on the day Prince Charles celebrates his 70th birthday at Spencer House on November 14, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Prince Charles and Camilla at an Age UK Tea in 2018. (Getty Images)

The heir to the throne urged people to be kind and “live with hope” in a challenging time when life has changed so much.

He offered hope, saying: “None of us can say when this will end, but end it will.”

He also praised communities who are pulling together to help neighbours, saying that “this network of selfless assistance is, in itself, helping to provide vital support and reassurance to the hard-pressed professional services”.

Shoppers visit a Waitrose supermarket in Frimley, south west of London on March 29, 2020, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Saturday the coronavirus outbreak will get worse before it gets better, as the number of deaths in Britain rose 260 in one day to over 1,000. The Conservative leader, who himself tested positive for COVID-19 this week, issued the warning in a leaflet being sent to all UK households explaining how their actions can help limit the spread. "We know things will get worse before they get better," Johnson wrote. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Charles urged kindness to those shopping and stacking shelves in supermarkets. (Getty Images)

Prince Charles also used the opportunity to praise Britain’s healthcare workers, new volunteers and supermarket shelf stackers.

He said: “It is clearly essential, therefore, that such key people are treated with special consideration when coming off their exhausting duties and trying to do their shopping, for instance, while having to contend with constant anxiety about their own families and friends.

“In this regard, we also think of all those many shop workers who are toiling as hard as they can throughout each and every night to keep supermarket shelves stocked – a further ’emergency service’ on which we are all relying.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales makes a speech as he attends a dinner in aid of the Australian bushfire relief and recovery effort at Mansion House on March 12, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Charles only suffered mild symptoms of coronavirus. (Getty Images)

The message comes two days after Prince Charles confirmed he had ended his period of self-isolation in his home in Balmoral, but Clarence House said his wife Camilla would remain in isolation until 14 days was up.

Prince Albert of Monaco, the first head of state to be diagnosed with the virus, also left self-isolation this week.

The Queen is understood to be preparing a televised address to the nation.

With reporting by Rebecca Taylor.

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